of 1942 San Francisco War Events
January 4, 1942
Gen. DeWitt met with the Chief of the War Department's Aliens Division
to come up with a definition of strategic areas where all enemy aliens
would be excluded.
January 5, 1942
Today was the deadline for enemy aliens in San Francisco to surrender to
the Western Defense Command radio transmitters, shortwave receivers and
January 8, 1942
Admiral John W. Greenslade, Commandant of the Navy's Twelfth Naval
District, urged that American-born and alien Japanese be excluded from
areas of strategic importance.
January 21, 1942
Secret Army intelligence report said there was an "espionage net containing
Japanese aliens, first and second generation Japanese and other nationals
...thoroughly organized and working underground."
Gen. DeWitt, in a telephone call, told Gen. Mark Clark that he
expected "a violent outburst of coordinated and controlled sabotage" among
the Japanese population.
January 25, 1942
Roberts Commission Report on Pearl Harbor blamed Gen. Short and Adm.
Kimmel for not taking adequate precautions against attack. The report also
said Japanese spies were on the island of Oahu who were not attached to the
Japanese consular corps.
January 27, 1942
Gen. DeWitt met with Gov. Culbert L. Olson to gain his support for
relocation of the Japanese. Attorney Gen. Warren and L.A. Mayor Fletcher
Bowron also demanded the Japanese be moved out.
January 28, 1942
Thomas C. Clark appointed Coordinator of the Alien Enemy Control
program within the Western Defense Command.
Justice Dept. announces strategic locations that must be cleared of enemy
aliens by February 24.
January 30, 1942
California Congressional delegation met in Washington to urge the
evacuation of enemy aliens from the West Coast.
February 2, 1942
Registration of enemy aliens began. FBI also started random
search-and-seizure raids at the homes and businesses of Japanese aliens.
Gen. DeWitt and Thomas C. Clark met with Gov. Olson to brief him
on plans to evacuate enemy aliens from the West Coast. The governor said
removing the Japanese from California might mean the troublesome
necessity of importing large numbers of Negro and Mexican laborers. Gov.
Olson wanted ten days to study the problem and come up with an
February 11, 1942
Sec. of War Stimson met with the President to ask for authorization to
remove alien and citizen Japanese. The President gave his approval.
February 12, 1942
Columnist Walter Lippmann, wrote from San Francisco, that the West
Coast "is in imminent danger of a combined attack from within and without
. . . It may at any moment be a battlefield. Nobody's constitutional rights
include the right to reside and do business on a battlefield."
February 13, 1942
Entire California congressional delegation today said, "We recommend the
immediate evacuation of all persons of Japanese lineage and all others,
aliens and citizens alike, whose presence shall be deemed dangerous or
inimical to the defense of the United States from all strategic areas."
February 14, 1942
Submarine U.S.S. Wahoo launched at Mare Island Naval Shipyard.
February 15, 1942
First exodus of enemy aliens from restricted military zones throughout
Northern California. "Move out and stay out" orders will become effective
on Feb. 24. Citizens were not affected by this order.
Lt. Col. C.C. Harsham, coordinator for the draft, reported there was a
steady stream of men at the San Francisco application centers today. The
deadline for registration is 9 p.m. tomorrow.
February 16, 1942
The industrial and Waterfront areas of San Francisco were declared a
restricted zone by the military. Aliens and other foreigners were not
allowed in the areas and were subject to arrest by the FBI for violations.
The Dept. of Justice has rounded up 1,266 alien Japanese along the
Sec. of War Henry L. Stimson met with President Roosevelt about the
need to evacuate the Japanese from the West Coast.
February 19, 1942
President Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 9066 to allow military
commanders to remove persons of Japanese ancestry from the Pacific
February 23, 1942
A Japanese submarine fired 13 shells at the Bankline Refinery at Goleta in
Southern California shortly after 7 p.m. One oil well was damaged. The
Civilian Defense control center in San Francisco's City Hall was activiated
when the news arrived from Goleta of the enemy attack. Police Chief Charles W. Dullea put all officers on
standby for emergency duty.
American Association of School Superintendents' Patriotic Revue at the
Rep. John Rankin of Mississippi demanded that the American Civil
Liberties Union be investigated for protesting the recent Presidential order
removing the Japanese from the West Coast. The Dies Committee on Un-
American Activities reported that detailed maps of West Coast cities
were seized from an "important Japanese," and a large number of them
were organized to further Fifth Column activities in this country.
February 24, 1942
All of northern California was declared a "strategic area" and Axis aliens
were subject to a 9 p.m. curfew. In addition, enemy aliens must evacuate
areas around Army posts, airfields and vital utilities. Lt. Gen. DeWitt will
lay out many additional areas from which aliens, and some citizens, will be
removed. The first 250 enemy aliens, mostly Japanese, left San Francisco
for a camp at Bismarck, North Dakota.
February 25, 1942
Several thousand anti-aircraft rounds were fired by the Army at an
unidentified target near Santa Monica. It was later determined to be a lost
weather balloon. It became known as "The Battle of Los Angeles.
March 2, 1942
Gen. DeWitt, commanding both the San Francisco Western Defense
Command, and the Fourth Army's Wartime Civil Control Administration,
issued instructions to all persons of Japanese ancestry living in San
Francisco to voluntarily evacuate to inland locations as ordered by
March 10, 1942
Navy seized an entire San Francisco neighborhood to add to the facility at the Hunters Point. About 100 families were forced to move for what the Navy called "military necessity."
March 18, 1942
President Roosevelt orders establishment of a War
March 19, 1942
Both house of Congress passed Public Law 503 which authorized the
evacuation of the Japanese.
March 25, 1942
Fearing Japanese attack, school board plans to issue I.D. tags to 100,000 school children.
March 26, 1942
FBI reports that 772 enemy aliens have been arrested in the San Francisco district since the start of the war.
March 27, 1942
Gen. DeWitt made internment and relocation mandatory for all persons of
FBI raids in the San Joaquin Valley rounded up dangerous members of the Japanese Black Dragon Society. Seventeens arrests in Fresno alone. The raid netted 139 Japanese in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties.
Civil War Administration suggests to all Japanese: "Persons facing evacuation who are having difficulty disposing of property or adjusting claims of creditors should call in person at 500 California St., where the Federal Reserve Bank has a special staff on duty to handle such matters."
March 28, 1942
FBI raids net dangerous San Francisco Japanese aliens who are members of the secret "Military Virtue Society." Three arrestees were priests of the Knokokyo and Tenrikyo churches.
March 31, 1942
Dangerous Japanese and German aliens were moved to a new internment camp in a canyon behind the Sharp Park Golf Course. Armed Border Patrol guards surround the new facility.
Gen. DeWitt says eight more enemy alien reception centers, to hold 37,000 persons, will be built in Marysville, Sacramento, Stockton, Turlock, Merced, Fresno, Pinedale, and Tulare.
San Francisco News reports Joe Di Maggio's elderly parents might be evacuated from San Francisco as enemy aliens.
April 1, 1942
Deadline today for all Japanese U.S. citizens to turn over guns, shortwave radios and cameras to the government.
Proclamation by Gen. DeWitt that no Japanese may leave areas in which they reside until evacuated by the Army.
April 2, 1942
U.S.S. Hornet slipped under the Golden Gate Bridge carrying Doolittle's Raiders who would drop the first American bombs on Japan. San Franciscans thought the 16 B-25s on the deck were being shipped to Hawaii
because the aircraft were too big to launch from the carrier.
April 6, 1942
Evacuation of San Francisco Japanese began today. War Location Authority
photgrapher Dorothea Lange documented the
April 17, 1942
Navy seizes Treasure Island from the City of San Francisco, and pays no compensation for the confiscated island. Admiral Greenslade claimed it was for "national security."
April 18, 1942
Gen. Doolittle's raids began on Tokio, Kobe, Yokohama, Nagoya and
April 21, 1942
FBI and police launch alien raids throughout the Bay Area. A UC Berkeley art student was taken into custody as a dangerous Japanese alien.
Gen. DeWitt orders Japanese out of San Francisco "generally west of the north-south line established by Junipero Serra Ave., Worchester Ave. and 19th Ave. and lying generally north of the east-west line established by California St. to the intersection of Market St. and then on Market St. to the Bay."
Civil Control Station opens at 1701 Van Ness Ave. and a responsible member of each Japanese family in San Francisco is to report there for instructions.
May 3, 1942
Gen. DeWitt issues evacuation instructions to persons of Japanese ancestry in Los Angeles.
San Francisco blackout ordered because of an unidentified target that later turned out to
be friendly. The 45-minute blackout was the eighth of the war.
May 4, 1942
Battle of the Coral Sea began.
AWVS "Vacations for
Victory in Agriculture" plan launched. 1500 women recruited to help with
the harvest between July and October. The pay was $4 to $8 per day, the
May 6, 1942
Gen. Walter K. Wilson spoke to the defenders of Corregidor over San
Francisco shortwave station KGEI just before the island fortress fell. He
said, "America is proud of you as valiant soldiers. Those of us who know
you personally are proud of you as friends."
May 8, 1942
Major defeat for the Japanese Navy as the Battle of the Coral Sea ended.
May 9, 1942
Practice firing of the 16-inch harbor defense guns. Shells weighed about
2100 pounds and the sound of firing was heard all over the city.
May 12, 1942
The Bay Area except San Francisco underwent a
25-minute air raid
alert this morning. San Francisco got in only the last eight minutes of the
alarm while Alameda, San Mateo and Marin counties received the signal
immediately after 11:20 a.m. Police and Civilian Defense officials charged
they did not receive the warning until 11:37 a.m., exactly 17 minutes after
the 4th Interceptor Squadron at the Presidio ordered the alert for this area.
May 20, 1942
Last Japanese evacuated from San Francisco. Six Greyhound buses carried the last 274 Japanese from the collection point at Raphael Weill School, and took them to the Tanforan assembly center. Only six seriously ill Japanese remained in local hospitals.
May 23, 1942
Police Chief Dullea ordered police, fire units and ambulances not to use
sirens because of possible confusion with the air raid signals.
May 27, 1942
West Coast shore defenses put on alert after Army code breakers learned
the Japanese would attack with hit-and-run raids in reprisal
for the Doolittle bombing of Japan.
May 29, 1942
San Francisco Civil Defense officials began distribution of gas masks to Air
Raid Wardens. Only 7000 arrived in the first shipment; not enough to
equip all block wardens.
May 31, 1942
The battleships Colorado and Maryland sailed out of the Golden Gate to
form a line of defense against the expected Japanese attack on San
June 2, 1942
The Western Defense Command warned the public to be on the lookout for
Japanese wearing U.S. Army uniforms. The Command said, "All Japanese
who are members of the Army of the United States have been removed
from the Western Defense Command and Fourth Army, except three on
the post at Fort Ord who are on a special assignment."
Nine-minute air raid alert in San Francisco. All radio stations from
Mexico to Canada were ordered off the air at 9:22 p.m.
June 3, 1942
Major Japanese air raid at Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Coastal defenses from
the Aleutians to Panama were put on full alert. The Japanese attack began
at 9 a.m. San Francisco War Time. A second raid occurred at 3 p.m. Dutch
Harbor is 2360 miles from San Francisco. A Japanese Zero aircraft
landed in the Aleutian Islands. It was found nearly intact and shipped to the
United States for evaluation.
Minesweeper Bunting collided with Navy patrol craft PC-569 about
2000 yards west of the Golden Gate Bridge. 14 crew members were
The Office of Price Administration OPA said if gas rationing is
introduced drivers will be limited to just less than four gallons per week.
President Roosevelt and the cabinet will decide on rationing at a Friday
June 4, 1942
8500 civilian defense helmets were distributed to San Francisco air raid
wardens. An additional 5150 have been shipped from the East.
June 6, 1942
Battle of Midway began.
Japanese army landed at Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.
June 7, 1942
As part of their training, Air Raid Wardens saw British film "UXB" about
unexploded bombs (duds and delayed action fuses) at the Fox Theatre.
June 8, 1942
Battle of Midway ended the Japanese naval threat to San Francisco and the
mainland. Four Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk. The United States lost
the carrier Yorktown.
Invasion alert for San Francisco canceled by the Western Defense
June 21, 1942
Japanese submarine I-25 shelled the harbor defenses of the Columbia River
in Washington state.
The Examiner patriotic song "Knit One, Purl Two" was recorded by
Glenn Miller and his Orchestra. Words to the song appeared in the
American Weekly section of today's newspaper.
June 22, 1942
Japanese submarine shelled a military depot at Fort Stevens, Oregon. It was
the first attack by a foreign power on a continental U.S. military
installation since the War of 1812.
June 29, 1942
Navy airship reported that the Japanese had laid mines west of the Main
Channel. Bay maritime traffic was halted for five hours, but mine sweepers
June 30, 1942
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz barely escaped death today when his
plane crashed into the Alameda Estuary near the San Francisco County
July 12, 1942
Institute on Labor in the War sponsored by the University of California
Extension, and Pacific Coast Labor School.
August 11, 1942
War Production Board ordered the entire crop of California wine grapes
diverted to the production of raisins for the Armed Forces.
August 16, 1942
Airship L-8 of the Navy Airship Squadron, lifted off from Treasure Island
at 6:03 a.m. to patrol near the Farallones. At 11:15 a.m., bathers near the
Olympic Club golf course saw the ship drift to shore then briefly touch
down on the beach near Ft. Funston where a depth charge aboard the ship
exploded on impact. L-8 finally crashed on Bellvue Ave. in Daly City. The
crew of the airship was not aboard and no trace of them was found.
August 20, 1942
Dimout regulations took effect in San Francisco.
September 8, 1942
Third War Loan drive began.
September 9, 1942
War jitters swept San Francisco after a Japanese warplane, launched from
the submarine I-25, bombed Mt. Emily, Oregon, and ignited a forest fire.
Incendiary bombs were also dropped near Brookings, Oregon. The attack
was in reprisal for Doolittle's raid on Japan.
September 10, 1942
Russian-American goodwill concert featuring Maria Kurenko, known as the "Russian Nightingale" at the Opera House.
September 12, 1942
San Francisco War Show at Union Square to dedicate the new underground garage. USO dances, radio broadcasts, etc. Sponsored by the Civilian Defense Council and the Win-the-War Committee.
Showing of pastels and drawings by Richard Stephens closed at the USO, 989 Market Street.
"Paintings On and Off the Post" by Army privates David Hammer and W.H. Yeisley closed at the de Young Museum.
September 21, 1942
Lecture at the Community Playhouse by Estela Romualdez Sulet, who speaks about "The Philippines in the Present Crisis."
September 28, 1942
Scrap metal drive began in San Francisco.
Lillian Hellman's anti-Nazi drama, Watch on the Rhine, starring Paul Lucas, opens at the Curran Theatre.
September 29, 1942
Japanese plane again bombed Mt. Emily, Oregon. San Francisco Civil
Defense intensified preparedness. The I-25 submarine, which launched the
plane, then sank two tankers off the coast.
October 4, 1942
Second scrap metal drive.
November 1, 1942
Effective today, Civilian Defense wardens are to report enemy attacks to
the underground control room at City Hall by calling ORdway 8987 or
November 11, 1942
Henry J. Kaiser readied the launch of a Liberty ship in San Francisco Bay.
Ship's keel laid in Richmond at midnight November 7 and completed in 4
days, 15 hours, 26 minutes.
November 13, 1942
San Francisco, namesake of the city, engaged in the Battle
of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. The ship and crew fought
heroically but 98 men, including Rear Admiral Daniel Judson Callaghan and
Captain Cassin Young were killed. The severely-damaged ship
managed to return to San Francisco and a hero's welcome.
November 28, 1942
A preliminary air raid alert and radio silence was ordered by the San
Francisco Air Defense Wing. The 25th alert of the war lasted 45 minutes.
November 29, 1942
Chronicle "Voc-a-News" broadcast on KGO. Maps printed in
the morning paper allowed listeners to follow the analysis of the war.
December 7, 1942
"One Year after Pearl Harbor" parade from the Ferry Building to Civic Center. 70,000 marched to commemorate Pearl Harbor, Manila, Bataan, Corregidor, Midway, Wake, and other battles of the Pacific. Parade opened a ten-day observance of the American war effort, with special activities planned for each day. Sponsored by the San Francisco Win-The-War Committee.
December 9, 1942
Lecture at the San Francisco Museum of Art by Douglas Macagy (1913-1973) who speaks of "Art, Nationalism and the War."
December 20, 1942
In the Aleutians, U.S. Army Air forces began bombing, strafing, and
incendiary attacks on Japanese Kiska Harbor installations.
December 31, 1942
Midnight curfew put the damper on New Years' Eve celebrations. The
usual revelers were missing from the traditional gathering spot at Market
and Powell sts. Curfew regulations drove most of the revelry into hotels
equipped with blackout curtains.
The military lifted off-limits sanctions against eight San
Francisco bars and taverns which may again serve liquor to men in
uniform. The eight were: Pirates Cave, 972 Market St.; Silver Dollar, 64
Eddy St.; Finocchio's, 506 Broadway; Lankershim Hotel Tavern Bar, 55
Fifth St.; McCarthy's, 1137 Market St.; Club Alabam, 1820-A Post St. and
Jack's Tavern, 1931 Sutter St. Each bar owner signed an agreement to limit
liquor sales to military personnel to between 5 p.m and midnight. Beer
may be sold between 10 a.m. and midnight.
New Year's Jubilee at the Civic Auditorium to benefit the Slavic Nations' relief fund.
Go to 1943 Exhibit.
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